Homelessness in East London

MA coursework 2015

02 Oct 2015


A report about the rise in the number of homeless people in East London.

Cue: Homelessness has risen by 36 percent in the last five years according to Crisis, a charity that supports people on the street. Government cuts have been blamed for the increasing strain on support services. A large proportion of these cases are linked to addiction. Anna Fleck has gone to East London to find out more.


Concerned residents of Tower Hamlets gathered at the Osmani Centre, Whitechapel, last night to speak to members of the Metropolitan police force about the increasing problem of displaced addicts. 


Spencer Brown, a resident of Columbia Estate, Shoreditch, went to the meeting.

Spencer Brown, Colombia Estate resident: In the last five years there has been a massive explosion in drug addicts and homeless people in Shoreditch. This is a hotbed. It’s been getting increasingly worse and raises the question, where are these people supposed to go?

Rufaro Rambanapasi, a worker at Mungo’s Broadway Hostel in Hackney, talked to me about the reasons for the increase over the past few years.

Rufaro Rambanapasi, Mungo's Broadway Hostel: With cuts to services, there is more pressure on hostels than ever before. Where 10-15 years ago there were five complex service hostels in Hackney, now there is only one. There are more people needing homes, but fewer places for them to go. 


People move to where there is money. With new bars and cafes, this leads to greater wealth in the area, but also disproportionate amounts of people on the street.

The recent cuts to the public services mean there are now 16,000 fewer police officers across England and Wales and so resources are spread more thinly.


Tower Hamlets Borough Commander Andy Ewing told those at the Residents Question Time we need to look to the top to resolve these problems. 

Andy Ewing, Tower Hamlets Borough Commander: Clearly governmental cuts are having a lasting effect. Policing is political. Whoever gets elected in the Mayoral elections hears the voice of the people.​


Cuts to services mean that people are not receiving the help they need for full recovery or the assistance to find new housing. Although places like Mungo’s Broadway Hostel are giving their best efforts, they simply don’t have the resources to help everyone on the streets. 


On Saturday 10 October, people around the world will be marking World Homeless Day. It will be a day dedicated to drawing attention to homeless people’s needs locally and providing an opportunity for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness. 


In: Concerned residents of Tower... 

Out: ...responding to homelessness.

Dur: 1’55”